For a while, the Mayor’s new London airport of choice was the so-called Boris Island in the Thames Estuary. Now, however, the Mayor has unveiled a new set of options for increasing the capital’s airport capacity and has thrown his weight behind the Isle of Grain option in north Kent.
The Mayor was launching Transport for London’s evidence to the Davies Commission, which is evaluating airport expansion options. As well as calling planned expansion of Heathrow and Gatwick ‘intellectual culs-de-sac’, he lambasted politicians for failing to provide more airport capacity earlier, saying: “We’ve been sitting around like puddings for the past 40 years doing nothing. We have squandered decades and other countries are eating our lunch”.
Transport for London has whittled down 16 options to three, each with four runways. “The Isle of Grain best combines regeneration with connectivity,” said Boris. A rail link would reach central London in less than half an hour. The other options are a new airport on reclaimed land in the Thames Estuary, and massive expansion at Stansted.
Two out of three passengers using a new four-runway airport will be expected to arrive by public transport, compared with just 40 per cent at Heathrow at present.
All three of TfL’s new options call for the closure of Heathrow, with the aim of creating a new London borough for 250,000 residents.
A spokeperson for Heathrow said: “It seems extraordinary that any Mayor of London would propose forcibly buying and then closing Heathrow. The Mayor’s proposals would leave 114,000 people facing redundancy, cost taxpayers more and take longer to deliver than building on the strength we already have at Heathrow.”
So, which is your preferred option? An expanded Gatwick or Stansted? A third runway at Heathrow? Or a brand new airport to the east of London? Let us know your thoughts.